TAMPA, Fla. – Caleb Corprew's Belmont University track and field career survives another day. The senior Bruin advanced through the first round of the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division I Outdoor East Preliminary Championships on Thursday.
Corprew (Midwest City, Okla.) trimmed his school-record time in the event to 51.18 seconds at the University of South Florida in qualifying for the 400 hurdles' quarterfinals, which will be contested Friday. Corprew ran to third place in his heat and is 12th overall in the field of 48 athletes from around the East Region.
The top three finishers in each of the event's six heats advanced, along with the next six best overall times, for a total of 24 athletes in Friday's next round. The top 12 will qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Eugene, Ore., starting June 6.
"It was a comfortable, smooth race," Corprew said. "Tomorrow is going to be a fight though and I definitely will have to push myself."
Corprew qualified for the East Regional last year as well, but finished in 38th place overall in the 400 hurdles. He entered this year's competition seeded 14th based on his times from the regular season.
"Caleb had a great race today. Coming in 14th overall really made him feel confident about what he had to do to advance," said Belmont Associate Head Track Coach Cameron Harvey. "Droping another PR time and being 12th right now is definiteyly a big confidence booster. We're looking to drop even more time tomorrow."
Corprew has now re-set his own school record in the 400 hurdles at three straight meets. He ran 51.90 at the Tennessee Challenge on May 5, the first time a Belmont athlete has broken the 52-second barrier in the event, and cut it down further to 51.23 at the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships a week later.
That time earned Corprew gold in the race, his second straight first-place finish in the event. Corprew added a first in the 110-meter hurdles as well.
Due to inclement weather concerns in the Tampa area on Friday, the afternoon's running events have all been moved up a half hour. The 400 hurdles is now at 1 p.m. (EDT).
Fellow Bruin Declan McManus (Worcestershire, England), a sophomore, will compete in the 3000-meter steeplechase on Friday as well. That race is slated for 8 p.m. (EDT), pending any weather-related changes to the schedule. Belmont junior Corey Claiborne (Alpharetta, Ga.) will compete Saturday in the shot put, tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (EDT).
NCAA track and field fans can watch a live stream online of the NCAA East and/or West Preliminary Championships as FloTrack Pro subscribers. The subscription will include access to all FloTrack live broadcasts, video on-demand from all events, documentaries, technique videos and more. Coverage of the preliminary competitions will be available Thursday through Saturday HERE.
Live results can also be viewed online HERE.